Billy Graham, Rick Warren: How We Can Truly Know if God Hears Our Prayers

( [email protected] ) Mar 29, 2016 12:44 PM EDT
The Rev. Billy Graham has revealed how those who pray can tell if God is listening when asked why sometimes, it feels as though our prayers simply bounce off the ceiling.
AP photo

The Rev. Billy Graham has revealed how those who pray can tell if God is listening when asked why sometimes, it feels as though our prayers simply bounce off the ceiling.

Responding to a question posted to the "My Answers" portion of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website, the 97-year-old pastor first explained that when we pray, God isn't concerned with the eloquence of our words but with the attitude of our hearts.

"If you have sincerely invited Jesus Christ to come into your life, you can be sure God has heard your prayer," he writes, citing 1 John 5:14, which states, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."

It's important to remember that God wants you to commit your life to Christ far more than you do, Graham contends.

"After all, he sent Jesus Christ into the world for one reason: to make our salvation possible," he writes. "Christ did this by becoming the final and complete sacrifice for our sins through his death on the cross - and he proved it, by overcoming the powers of death and hell and sin and Satan through his resurrection from the dead. Now he offers us salvation as a free gift - free, because Christ has already paid for it."

The evangelist then asks two poignant questions: Would God have done this if he were reluctant for us to be saved? Would Christ have gone through the agonies of the cross if he didn't want us to be with him in heaven forever?

"No, of course not," he writes in response. "God loves us, and the proof is Jesus Christ."

As he often does, Graham concludes his message with a call to salvation: "If you are uncertain of your salvation, turn to Christ a simple prayer of faith give your life to him," he writes. "God's promise is for you: 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life' (John 3:36)."

The evangelical leader frequently discusses the importance of forming a personal relationship with Christ and trusting in God's perfect plan for our lives. In April 2015, he asserted that Christians can believe in God's existence and also grow to know him personally by talking to Him through prayer.

"We can believe that He exists (and we should, because He has given us all the evidence we need to believe in Him). But we also can come to know Him personally - and when we do, we know He is with us all the time, and we can talk to Him in prayer and listen to Him speaking to us through His Word, the Bible," he wrote.

Another prominent Evangelical figure, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, has also encouraged believers to remember that it's important to pray in faith, trusting that God will answer our requests.

"God wants to direct you in life, but two things need to line up: You have to ask the right person, God, and you have to ask with the right attitude - in faith, expecting an answer," he wrote in a 2014 "Daily Hope" devotional.

"Have you ever asked God for something and didn't expect to get it? That's why you didn't get it," he added. "God works in our lives according to faith. So many times we say, 'God, please guide me!' and we walk away, not even waiting for guidance. We just immediately start to work. We say, 'God, I want you to give me wisdom; help me make the right decision.' But we don't really expect him to do that. We think it all depends on us."

Warren concluded: "Think about this: God never makes a bad decision. He never makes a mistake. He says if we trust him and listen to him, he will guide us. But we must ask in faith."